If you need an Excedrin Migraine, take a Tylenol and a Bayer (aspirin) and wash them down with a ½ cup of coffee (caffeine). To make it Excedrin PM, skip the coffee and replace the caffeine with 1 1/2 Benadryl.
Did you know Advil and Motrin are exactly the same drug and dosage? Look at Excedrin Migraine and Excedrin Extra Strength and you will find exactly the same ingredients and dosages, only the labels change, one is red the other is green! Yes I know these are all name brands and not the actual drug name so don’t yell at me for not knowing that. If you are have a cold or the flu and want to take Sudafed PE Congestion & Pain or Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain then take one Advil and a Sudafed, it’s the same thing.
One exception to my rule to “only bring what you know you need” is my first aid kit and the over the counter (OTC) drugs in it. In the third-world countries I prefer to travel in OTC drugs can often be found but there is no guarantee on how easy or timely you will find them or if you will find what you need once you find a drug store. Besides having to find a drug store not all OTC drugs go by the same name in other countries or languages or may be available in that country so having a small supply in my aid kit to cover me or the people I am leading is worth the small space it takes. Because I sometimes travel with other riders who look to me when something goes wrong I need to be ready for ailments that I may not normally be concerned with.
If you look closely at the rows of OTC drugs at the local drug store the majority of the drugs that deal with sore muscles, migraines, colds, the flu, insomnia, allergies and so on consist of a combination of 5 primary drugs. To make your portable medical kit complete you can add 6 more drugs and cover motion sickness, chest congestion, diarrhea, vertigo, nausea, nasal congestion and heartburn. In the end if you only have a few pills of each it takes very little space. As a note I only bring drugs that come in pill form due to the space liquid drugs take.
I am a former firefighter/EMT so I understand how to handle medical emergencies but I am not a pharmacist so my goal was to recreate the a selection of OTC’s options based on the core ingredients and ratios identical to the OTC drugs available in the United States such as Excedrin PM vs Excedrin Migrain etc. I ensure that I never exceed the listed dosages listed by the drug manufactures without consulting a doctor suggest that if you use my list or create your own you should be familiar with the side effects of each drug and not combine these with any prescription drugs without consulting a doctor. By breaking down the numerous OTC drugs available I am able to make a very compact list of drugs that let me recreate the masses of options based on the specific need. Does someone have a chronic pain issue vs an acute injury? Do I want to just decrease pain but not reduce swelling, do I want to reduce swelling and thin the blood at the same time. Do I need to help someone sleep that is having issues due to sore muscles vs trouble sleeping due to an illness. Many people just rely on the labels at the store without knowing what is really best.
This a partial list of the name brand drugs I used to established dosages and combinations in my first aid pharmacy guide.
I have the following cheat sheet printed and laminated inside my first aid kit. When printed it fits on approximately a 3×5 in sheet of paper.
First Aid Pharmacy Guide:
*Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drug